January 2019
School Board Appreciation Month Spotlights Local Leaders
From left to right, Jeff Mason, Vernon Beatty, Clay Mahaffey, Rick Gray, Andy Hayes, Ernest White
Seated, from left to right, Meg Clayton, Sharon Porter and Sanders Lee
Every year, communities across the country pay tribute to their local school boards during the month of January. Spartanburg District 7 joined the salute this month by recognizing the nine men and women who work to advance public education in our community. Superintendent Dr. Russell Booker, commended Mr. Vernon Beatty, Miss Meg Clayton, Mr. Rick Gray, Mr. Andy Hayes, Mr. Sanders Lee, Mr. Clay Mahaffey, Mr. Jeff Mason, Ms. Sharon Porter, and Dr. Ernest White, for their tremendous leadership and noted that the group can take pride in contributing, collectively, more than 100 years of service to District 7. This year, two D7 Board members, were honored at the state level for serving the District for two decades or more. Current Board Chair, Ms. Sharon Porter has been a member of the Board for 25 years, and Mr. Rick Gray has been a member for 20 years.

Recently, we spoke with Ms. Porter and Mr. Gray and asked the following questions:

7Headlines : What’s been the most important gain in District 7 during your tenure as a Board Member?
SP: The increase in graduation rates and the broad range of early learning programs we’ve initiated for our children.
RG: The increase in graduation rates and the new Spartanburg High School.

7Headlines: What is the life advice that has meant the most to you and that you would most like to share with our students?
SP: Always remember you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”  Harriet Tubman
RG : " Treat all people the way you want to be treated — with kindness and fairness. Think about how we all are different from each other in some ways, but we are the same in so many ways: Inside we all have feelings and deserve to be happy." Martin Luther King, Jr.
RG: Believe in yourself and your goals and dreams. Don't give up or let worry take over when things get tough.

For more information about our elected members, be sure to read our  Superhero Spotlights  created for School Board Appreciation Month.
Studying the Words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Throughout District 7 this month, students and staff have been invested in the national holiday that honors the legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. At the Viking Early College, more than 20 young men took a look back in time by sifting through King’s famous, Letter From a Birmingham City Jail. With the help of former Spartanburg Mayor and community leader, Mr. Bill Barnet and Mr. John Simpkins, a moderator with the Aspen Institute, students examined King’s constructive criticism of racial injustice in Alabama during the spring of 1963. Simpkins, a Harvard law graduate and Senior Lecturer at Duke Law School, reminded the group of juniors and seniors that Dr. King was only 34 years old when he called on the local clergy in Birmingham to see the justice of his activism. Today, 56 years later, the students who sat with Mr. Barnet and Mr. Simpkins say it’s hard to believe that the rights they take for granted were long denied to African Americans. Marvin Brooks, the Student Body President of the Viking Early College said reading King’s letter is always sobering “I find it very hard to believe the hardships Dr. King talks about in this letter,” said Brooks, “because I am treated fairly and respectfully. People call me by my name and not any other. Also, I am offered many opportunities through my school and community.” Despite the gains made for civil rights in the last few decades, Brooks went on to say, “ I think we are all called on to continue to address things that are unfair and unjust. Dr. King would not want us to try to stay in the middle of problems to avoid conflict, but to pick a side and stand tall – to be extremists for love and not hate.”
Students Celebrate MLK at Unity Celebration
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. spent a lifetime encouraging service to others. Each year, the holiday that bears his name is a reminder that we all have something to give in the name of unity.

Dr King’s legacy of using praise and faith to combat division was on full display during the City of Spartanburg's, Unity Celebration on January 21. Hundreds packed Spartanburg Memorial Auditorium for the 32nd annual celebration featuring keynote speaker, Darin Goss, the Sounds of Diversity Choir and Orchestra and the recognition of community members working to advance the efforts started by King and other Civil Rights leaders. This year’s theme was “Strength. Hope. Love. That’s Spartanburg.”

As part of the City's annual poster contest for students, open to elementary and middle schools in the county, five of the nine winning entries were submitted by D7 students. T he fourth-sixth grade winners were Bella Gibbs of McCracken Middle School and Kymani Jon’tey Brayboy Fitzgerald of Mary H. Wright Elementary School; and the seventh and eighth-grade winners were Jackson Griffith, Nevaeh Hensley and Genesis Young, all of E.P. Todd School (bottom left). Bella also won the T-shirt and banner contest (bottom right).

Miss Ambrasia Fuller of Spartanburg High School was named one of the two new Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Celebration Scholarship recipients. Ambrasia was chosen from a pool of 17 applicants based on the evaluation of her 500-word essay on the topic of personal identity. She received a $1,000 scholarship and a Denny’s gift card.
Upstate Parent Magazine Honors Our Own, Ernest Rice
Educator Ernest Rice is helping others see that his students are worth an investment. "I have always wanted to be a role model for students – since I began as a teacher’s assistant in 2003." The January edition of Upstate Parent Magazine recognized Rice as one of 10 outstanding educators making a difference in their schools. While Rice was a guidance counselor at Carver Middle School he started a mentoring program for boys who needed that support. Now in his second year as Assistant Principal at Pine Street Elementary School, Rice influences students in a wider role. “I am able to impact more students, by virtue of the daily interaction I have with our children as an assistant principal,” he said.

In addition to his work as Assistant Principal at Pine Street, Rice shares his talents at the Bethlehem Center through the Omega Psi Phi Fraternity's, Bridge Builders Program , which works with elementary and middle school children in an after-school initiative. Ernest is keenly aware his influence goes far beyond his home and his work, and he feels fortunate to be able to pay it forward. “I am passionate about being an advocate for kids and doing what's right for them. I am thankful to be able to inspire children to seize their future.”
SHOUT OUTS
We are excited to see work begin on the new Outdoor Environmental Classroom on the campus of the new Spartanburg High School. A special thanks to the Balmer Foundation for serving as a lead funder of this project.
The  Viking girls swim team  finished 4th in the state out of 30 teams. The amazing relay team ( left to right ) of Sarah Grace Byers, Annika McEnroe, Sophia Kannee, and Kirsti McEnroe   won both the 200 Medley Relay and the 400 Freestyle Relay and now they have the rings to prove it!
The Vikings girls tennis team recently received their 5A state championship rings - to round out a tremendous season! Congratulations, ladies.
SHS Students Take Top Honors
Academic Team Scores Gold
The Spartanburg High School Academic Team has remained undefeated this year in a string of statewide competitions.The winning team includes, Nolan Sykes , Tommy Shealy , Claire Ellis and Daniel Jones .
Ethics Team Starts Strong
The SHS Ethics Bowl team of (clockwise left) Brian Sander, Isabella Goodchild-Michelman, Amy Rieth, Grant Booker , and S ophia Whisnant pictured with advisors Susan Plonski and Erin Hubbell were named runners up in the inaugural South Carolina High School Ethics Bowl. Eleven teams from the state competed this month at Wofford College.
D7 5th Grader Soars at Spelling Bee
Drayton Mills Elementary School recently celebrated 5th grader, Malachi Shuler's win in the District 7 Spelling Bee. Held on January 10 at McCracken Middle School, the event saw 16 strong competitors representing all of the district's elementary and middle schools. Malachi reports that, after he won the DMES Spelling Bee, he began practicing four times a day for the district-wide event. He studied word lists and had his parents call out random words for him to spell. He was especially glad when he got the word "lucid," a word that he knew how to spell because of a song title. 

Despite his practice, Malachi says, "I was amazed when I won!" After successfully spelling "trauma" in the final round, he reports that his sole competitor extended extraordinary sportsmanship. "She came up and congratulated me and said she was proud of me," Malachi says.

Malachi, along with Abby Brown, 1st runner up from McCracken, Jamari Means 2nd runner up from Carver, and all the school winners will compete against other county students at the Regional Spelling Bee on February 16 at USC Upstate's Campus Life Center. We congratulate all our school champions – McKayla Smith (JBE), Esmeralda Chavez-Perez (Cleveland), Keyon Sinclair (EP Todd), Ma’shya Ferguson (Mary Wright), Everett Stone (Pine), and Nalani Manigault (EP Todd Middle) - and wish them good luck at the Regional Bee.
Thank You For Helping Us Live United!
Live United is the goal of the United Way of the Piedmont and in District 7 each year, it's the goal we rally around as well. We know c hange doesn't happen alone. Together, we can do more than any of us can do on our own. To "Live United" is a constant reminder that when we reach out a hand to one, we influence the condition of all.
This year with the help of our staff and students, District 7 surpassed it's $60,000 goal and chose to give to the Community Impact Fund and to the Imagination Library, both causes that make Spartanburg a better place. Students collected close to $5,000 in "Dollars for Dolly" donations, which will help eliminate the waiting list of children hoping to enroll in the Imagination Library. Imagination Library delivers age-appropriate books every month to children, ages birth to five. Thanks to all who made a donation this year to the United Way and to our "Dollars for Dolly" Campaign!
Seen Around Seven
Spartanburg High School's very own hometown hero, Tavien Feaster has plenty to celebrate on the heels of Clemson's national championship!
Spartanburg High School students who performed as part of the state's All State Chorus, stole the show! Way to go Vikings!
The Mary H. Wright Butterfly Club donated bears and homemade ornaments to Isaac’s Christmas, a non-profit charity started by EP Todd teacher, Meghan Bush , in honor of her infant son who passed away. The foundations' purpose is to make Christmas brighter for children and their families in the hospital during the holidays.
Hair's a great shot! Cosmetology 1 students at Daniel Morgan learn to foil hair for the very first time.
Carver Middle School students traveled the Silk Road bartering for silk, gold, brass and spices.
Cyber Eagles from McCracken Middle School hard at work for the state round of competition with Cyber Patriot.  
Shout out to ELC friend Jackie Jackson ! She crocheted hats for Mrs. McCutcheon ’s class just in time for them to celebrate their book of the week, Caps For Sale .
No such thing as a time-out for the SCHSL Student Athlete Advisory Council (SAAC). Ambassadors from SHS were hard at work over the Christmas break planning 2019 activities.
Congratulations to E.P. Todd who swept the awards in the City's MLK poster contest. Bravo to students Niveah Hensley , Jackson Griffith , Genesis Young and their art teacher Melissa Parrish .
Carver Middle school students get first hand tips on writing with author Jo Watson Hackl
After 29 rounds, Pine Street was able to name a spelling bee winner - Everett Stone. Principal Regnier will be cheering Everett on in the Regional Bee, on February 16.
Whitlock Flexible Learning Center students and director Jada Kidd-Robinson celebrate Connect Day and the grand opening of the school's new computer lab. 
Pine Street's Reese Crocker recently performed as a finalist at the SC Junior Beta Club Convention in Myrtle Beach on January 18. The entire Pine Street Beta Club fueled the excitement by also being named Songfest finalists.
Tie Tuesday is in full swing at Meeting Street Academy.
January brought the debut of the Franklin School - a year-round child development center, serving children from 6 weeks to 5-years-old.
Knowing Me, Knowing You...
( it's time to talk about tickets to Mama Mia! )
Get ready to sing and dance as the romantic musical comedy, Mama Mia, makes its way to Spartanburg. As the selection for this year's annual District-wide musical - this is one you don't want to miss. Tickets for the spring performance go on sale in early May, at the Chapman Cultural Center.

Performance dates are: May 23, 7PM; Saturday, May 25, 7PM and Sunday, May 26 3PM.
Alumni Spotlight -Kionna Jeter
The headline reads - ' We can be great': Towson women’s basketball off to best start in CAA play in 11 years
Towson University's sudden rise to the top of the conference after being voted eighth in the league’s 10-team preseason poll might be surprising, but with the addition of shooting guard Kionna Jeter the team is on fire. Spartanburg High School grad Kionna is leading the Tigers and Colonial Athletic Association Basketball in scoring and she is also ranked #10 in the nation with 21.8 points per game. At this writing s he'd been named the CAA player of the week twice in this season.
As a Viking, Kionna averaged 29.8 points, 8.6 rebounds, 6.8 steals and 3.6 assists per game while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from 3-point range. She was the Gatorade South Carolina Girls Basketball Player of the Year and South Carolina Coaches Association AAAA Player of the Year in 2015.
Congratulations, Kionna! You are representing your home state and your high school so well!
Mark Your Calendars
February
18
Monday
Make Up Day 
Mark your calendars - Monday, February 18, 2019, is a regular school day. Students will attend school after missing classes on October 11, 2018 due to Hurricane Michael. Originally scheduled as a teacher workday, students are now required to attend school. February 18 is a day built into the 2018-2019 school calendar specifically as a weather make-up day. The school days missed during the 2018 December winter storm will not be counted as make-up days, thanks to the District's eLearning Initiative.
Feb. 5, 2019
School Board Meeting

Feb 10, 2019
Progress Reports

Feb 15, 2019
Early Release Day

Feb 18, 2019
Make up Day
President's Day
The Flyover: Home of the Vikings
Join us for the latest flyover and fly through views of the new Spartanburg High School. Our future Vikings are sure to be high fliers.
Our Thanks for Your Prayers
From Superintendent, Dr. Russell Booker:

On behalf of the District 7 community, I’d like to thank our students, staff, and families, as well as our many friends here at home and throughout the state for the outpouring of love and support we’ve witnessed in the last few weeks. Your calls and cards and gestures of concern have meant more than you know. District 7 will carry on – ever mindful of the importance of our mission to inspire and equip our students for meaningful lives of leadership and service.
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Follow Dr. Booker on Twitter: @rwbookerrussell
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